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Author Topic: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip  (Read 727 times)

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Offline c5h

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Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« on: September 19, 2019, 10:05:59 AM »
Just got back from another 15 day trip.  I spend a lot time on the countryside this time, and camping.  Also spent time in Kyiv.  Last trip to Kyiv was 2 years ago.  I spend most of the time with new wife's family this time around.  Observations:

Uber is pretty much tourist only now.  Uklon is dominate provider, you can only sign up with a Ukraine based phone number to confirm (maybe other european numbers will but american numbers don't work).  Pretty much works like Uber but you can optionally pay in cash.  Bolt is the #2 service now. 

New train from airport is hit or miss.  You do avoid all traffic so the route is faster.  It only runs once an hour and to reliably use it you really need to look at the schedule on the airport's website.  Buses appear to run every 15 minutes so often its faster.  They are both 80 Hryvnia ($3).  The train you can pay via credit card so you don't want to exchange at airport this would be an advantage. 

Airport exchange rates are no longer higher.  Main bus station exchange rates are only slightly higher than best rates now.

I was really surprised to learn the Hryvnia has gained against the dollar from the last trip.  I thought one could always count on 15-20% inflation.  Banks are paying up to 19% interest, which was sucky before because of inflation, but seems like a great deal now.  Not sure how this is working.

A couple negative subway changes.  You can't buy more than 1 token per person, which sucks.  Your company needs to stay in sight of ticket window.  Also the machines to purchase tokens are gone.  I think both had to with the rate increase (8 Hryvnia), both changes have made lines to get tokens longer.  Tokens are required for luggage now as well and its aggressively enforced.

Customs is lax both ways, I got in multiple items I was prepared to loose. 

Kholodets-  Jello soup, new worst food I've ever tried.  I ate with 4 different local families so I've tried every traditional Ukrainian food now.  I also understand why every girl I talked to before my first trip listed McDonalds or KFC as there favorite restaurant in Ukraine. 

I had borscht at 3 different households and non of it was Red.  I noticed beets in every garden but maybe it is not picking time yet?  Wife has always made her red version.

We brought taco kits and chili kits, ours guests really enjoyed both.  Its a struggle to find ground beef though. 

Don't know how this happened, but Mojito's (non alcoholic) are like the national drink of ukraine now, they are everywhere.

Qirim Tandyr - I think this is new, is the only restaurant near Maiden I don't remember from 2017.  Crimean Tatar and it was very good!

Last Baricade - I had always heard it was style over substance and avoided it.  This is the restaurant in the mall under Maiden, the hidden QB button on elevator and you say a password at the bar to enter the hidden door.  Also it's mostly known for Western cuisine.  The western food there wasn't very good, the Tbones and Filets would not have been considered proper cuts in USA.  The traditional Ukrainian food they had was the best I ever tried.  Chicken Kyiv, Porridge, and Borscht were awesome.  It was also cheaper than expected.  Mixed drinks, beer, 2 bottles of wine, 4 appetizers and entries for 8 people was only $140.

Bowling.  Big Ben is out of business now.  We went to the alley at Gullver's, all super nice new equipment and only around $28 for a party of 8 to bowl for an hour.

Apartments.  Not sure if it was bad luck but I had 3 different places via airbnb cancel on me.  The place I booked wasn't available when I arrived.  I am not sure if it is a real place or not.  I suspected it was a bait and switch and blew up on them.  However the place they got me in exchange was a nice 3 room apartment right on khreshchatyk.

I had considered buying a place on khreshchatyk or near the square in Lviv before and pretty only considered those as the places I would want to have in Ukraine.  I was really impressed by Podil this time.  It's lively and you can Ukrainians actually smile.

Wife applied with local city for free land.  It's about 30 miles west of kyiv, her passport still shows her as a resident.  Local retired attorney friend works at city hall and recently discovered the program for mil that served in fight with russia to get land was actually open to everyone.  They want Kyiv people to build weekend dachas.

Corruption conditions haven't improved much.  However everyone is afraid of being blasted on facebook now.  I took a picture of a old utility truck outside family house because I thought it was cool.  A big crew showed up to finish and the mom came in and said they I freaked them out taking a picture because they taught they were doing something wrong and I was going to post it on facebook.

Nightlife in Kyiv seemed much improved this time.  Ukrainian girls are still jealous af, I took a picture of the Harlem girls dancing and wife didn't speak to me for rest of night.

I had scheduled Lasik but cancelled, I may do it in future, they had english speaking doctors and a steller rep and did corrections for $430per eye with new equipment.  Wife had dental work on trip at 32dent.ua in Kyiv, they seemed legit.  She was insistent on not doing anything in USA because of cost.  Filling start at $16, braces at $430 or so.

I helped on farm a little and spend a lot of time in the countryside.  In 2 of the villages they said I was the first American they had seen.  Was able find some battlefield stuff (spent casting and pieces of mines) with a metal detector.  Family was there during WWII and said there trenches in the field.

How ordinary people can manage to pay for things still blows my mind.  A real Adidas sweatshirt is $95 at the factory store in Kyiv, at the stores with fake ones they are $35.  I brought everyone in family one from USA for $16-20 each.  I brought 73 lbs of Adidas and Whisky for gifts so I am pretty popular now.

I flew on both Swiss and Lufthansa transatlantic for the first times.  I think Swiss is the best of what I've used.  The head rests on seats were the most accommodating for sleeping of any, and snacks were the best.  Meals and entertainment were average.  Lufthansa was among the worst I've used, not Aeroflot bad though.  I've used Virgin, Turkish, Air France, and Aeroflot before.

I didn't see anyone there obviously for girls as in previous trips. 




Online Trenchcoat

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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2019, 11:04:51 AM »

I had scheduled Lasik but cancelled, I may do it in future, they had english speaking doctors and a steller rep and did corrections for $430per eye with new equipment.


You might have made a good call in cancelling, I would be skeptical if you have much recourse in Ukraine if things go wrong, you could be left high and dry.

Also you may want to look into LASEK, its what I had done earlier this year with good results. There's a longer recovery time of a couple of weeks before sight gets near correct, i.e driving standard. However, the longer term prospects I believe are less risky than LASIK, unlike LASIK there is no flap cut so no risk of that becoming a problem later on, I know its supposed to be rare but some people online have reported many instances of people having problems, the flap not healing, it unseating years later, painful dry eye for a long time after due to cut nerves in the cornea, etc, etc. There is also no risk of a cornea flap creasing, crinkling, tears or holing as it is replaced with Lasek since there is no flap. Instead Lasek you just get the one laser onto the surface of the cornea to flatten it a little (invisible to the naked eye, at least at my perscription which as around 3-4 diopers). The cornea and the layer above then smooth over and heal over the course of the next 2-3 months but good enough eyesight is usual after two weeks usually, essentially it is less trauma to the eye.

Also don't just look at the cheapest cost but also all online reviews, the care and aftercare srevice you get. The optrometrist I was at initial testing was an expert, she found that I had been overprescribed by my optician by about 1 dioper in each eye. She said she finds that with a lot of the prescriptions from opticians, she instead uses a more advanced technique even though it is a little time consuming to get to the right prescription. Essentially if time, effort and expertise is not spent on this you can end up with the laser taking off too much (asumming you're short sighted) and that may lead to permanent long sightedness and then you'll need glasses for that instead.

As with any surgery there is risk and you've got to go with what you wholey decide whether you wish to go ahead with it or not. My surgery cost about five times as much as the figure you quote, despite my reputation for being a cheapskate on this board its one thing I wouldn't want to skimp on and risk a bad job in order to try and save a few bucks. I went to Moorfields Private Eye Hospital - its a private patient branch of the NHS Moorfield Hospital in London which is well known for its top specialists and research in Eye treatment so I would see no reason why US or any other nationality could not also pay to use as I did. Up to you where you chose if you do but I would be cautious of all the catchy stories of going to East European countries to save a few bucks as you might end up regretting it.
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Offline Boethius

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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2019, 12:47:54 PM »
Re borscht - Green borscht typically is served in summer, with fresh sorrel.  It's about a variety of vitamins. 


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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2019, 02:04:30 PM »
Green borscht typically is served in summer, with fresh sorrel.  It's about a variety of vitamins. 

Perhaps that's the secret behind Ukrainian women looking so hot ;D
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Offline ML

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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2019, 04:35:11 PM »
Great trip report; thanks for sharing.

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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2019, 05:29:51 PM »
beware of Ukrainian dentistry...
my wife needed all hers replaced...
if youre not careful youll just end up doing things in
Ukraine that will need to be fixed later in the USA....

Kholodets

you tried it? just the appearance was enough for me to put it down... spossiba!!!

beet harvest is just starting now....

when I lived there no one bought ground beef in stores
you had a meat grinder at home and you made your own....

if you want a dacha closer than 30 miles, there are LOTS of dachas for sale along the main highway from boryspil airport for a reasonable price, and nice forested land...


Online LAman

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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2019, 03:41:31 PM »

Uber is pretty much tourist only now.  Uklon is dominate provider, you can only sign up with a Ukraine based phone number to confirm (maybe other european numbers will but american numbers don't work).  Pretty much works like Uber but you can optionally pay in cash.  Bolt is the #2 service now. 

New train from airport is hit or miss.  You do avoid all traffic so the route is faster.  It only runs once an hour and to reliably use it you really need to look at the schedule on the airport's website.  Buses appear to run every 15 minutes so often its faster.  They are both 80 Hryvnia ($3).  The train you can pay via credit card so you don't want to exchange at airport this would be an advantage. 

 A couple negative subway changes.  You can't buy more than 1 token per person, which sucks.  Your company needs to stay in sight of ticket window.  Also the machines to purchase tokens are gone.  I think both had to with the rate increase (8 Hryvnia), both changes have made lines to get tokens longer.  Tokens are required for luggage now as well and its aggressively enforced.
 

Couple things, uber is used by all. I did use uber all times in Odessa, I used to use uklon only but now use apps in phone and check for better price and not much longer of wait. I used my American number for both uber and uklon, I did have a local number in case I needed. I normally pay in cash but you can use card( stored in app).

New train is not hit and miss, it has a regular schedule(some times have changed this year). I agree you need to know the time it runs and decide, if using skybus or train or even a taxi. Skybus runs as soon as it fills up so could be 15 minutes but maybe more. One thing to think about is time of day, if during a rush hour, take train. One tip, if you get off bus at Kharkivska metro and take green line to center( or transfer to another line) and close to apt/hotel. It takes only ~15 minutes for this bus ride. Could be 1-1.5 hours to train station. Also train is 80uah. Skybus is 60uah to Kharkivska and 100uah to train station.

RE: subway , you can buy multiple tokens at office, don't know why you couldn't. Just last week I bought 8 tokens.
Extra token was always a rule for luggage, just NOW enforced. It was so bad, several time my suitcase was actually measured. For some reason, one lady measured suitcase  and let me go through turnstile with only one token. ???? You should try Kharkiv, no tokens and no office, only a machine for paper ticket.

Thanks anyway for you report. Better than the dump this site has turned into. ))
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Online msmob

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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2019, 10:39:22 PM »

Thanks anyway for you report. Better than the dump this site has turned into. ))


Yet here you are, 'correcting' the OP when some of your 'info' has been questioned..)

Thank you, c5h for taking the time to post your experience / opinion.

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Offline ML

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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2019, 12:22:16 PM »
As a slightly off topic post:

I sent this TR to a FSU gal that I spent a lot of time with back in the day.
She replied back, thanking me and telling that she would be preparing such a report on her several trips this past year and upcoming.

She has thanked me profusely in the past for helping get her on a very lucrative career path.

So what did I do for her:  Not really very much in my estimation. 
1) I encouraged her to take English lessons to improve her weak skills and gave her a couple hundred dollars to get them started (this was after we had met). 
2) I put her in contact with another business woman in her hometown who needed someone with this gal's very high level IT skills.

Upshot . . . she was hired and with development of her now near perfect English, she is the company's person to deal with (in English) customers all over Europe including extensive travel.  She also continued on to get something like equivalent of MBA there in Ukraine.

As a couple, things didn't work out for us . . . although we had a torrid sex life . . . but we are seemingly life long friends.
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Offline Boethius

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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2019, 03:05:14 PM »
when I lived there no one bought ground beef in stores you had a meat grinder at home and you made your own....


You can buy ground beef in stores, at least in big cities.  You can also choose a cut of meat in supermarkets in big cities and ask that a certain amount, say, 400g, be ground for you.


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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2019, 04:23:00 PM »
da, it depends on where you go....

there are the outdoor markets where they sell ground beef from a giant pile of it!!!
but there are flies landing on it!!!!
same thing for most of the store ground beef, people didn't want to buy it, didn't "trust it"
so they didn't sell much, some stores not at all!!!

my wife had a HUGE cast iron hand turned meat grinder
to make gamboorger


Offline c5h

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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2019, 09:02:50 AM »
Couple things, uber is used by all. I did use uber all times in Odessa, I used to use uklon only but now use apps in phone and check for better price and not much longer of wait. I used my American number for both uber and uklon, I did have a local number in case I needed. I normally pay in cash but you can use card( stored in app).

New train is not hit and miss, it has a regular schedule(some times have changed this year). I agree you need to know the time it runs and decide, if using skybus or train or even a taxi. Skybus runs as soon as it fills up so could be 15 minutes but maybe more. One thing to think about is time of day, if during a rush hour, take train. One tip, if you get off bus at Kharkivska metro and take green line to center( or transfer to another line) and close to apt/hotel. It takes only ~15 minutes for this bus ride. Could be 1-1.5 hours to train station. Also train is 80uah. Skybus is 60uah to Kharkivska and 100uah to train station.

RE: subway , you can buy multiple tokens at office, don't know why you couldn't. Just last week I bought 8 tokens.
Extra token was always a rule for luggage, just NOW enforced. It was so bad, several time my suitcase was actually measured. For some reason, one lady measured suitcase  and let me go through turnstile with only one token. ???? You should try Kharkiv, no tokens and no office, only a machine for paper ticket.

Thanks anyway for you report. Better than the dump this site has turned into. ))

I think what I posted on these items is accurate, that Uber is no longer dominate and the Train isn't always better than skybus.

Outside of the main cities often there wasn't an Uber in the entire city, not just villages, cities of 10-20k.  Inside Kyiv there were obviously fewer Uber cars than Uklon (and Bolt).  Every local I spoke with used only Uklon or Bolt.  Uklon's activation text didn't work to my USA phone number.  It's a known problem they said to"Please send your phone number to android@uklon.com.ua." to all the other people that posted the same problem in there app store. 

When buying tokens the attendant (Kyiv metro) requires you to point out the other person you are  buying tickets for if they are not standing beside you.  It was consistent across all the Kyiv stations.  I think the reason is because (in Kyiv) they are considering raising the price and they don't want people buying tokens for future use.  We tried to get extra tokens and they wouldn't allow it.  When we had a party of 8 with us, everyone had to raise there hand to show they were with us to buy the tokens.  They physically removed the machines that you could buy tokens from.

Hit or miss was in reference the train not always being better than Skybus, you needing to check the train schedule, because there could be a 30 minute wait or a 1hr 20min wait between trains.  Skybus left in 15 minute intervals when I was there, they didn't wait for it to be full.  http://kbp.aero/en/kiev-boryspol-express/  Train schedule is different today than it was a week ago.  I got there past 10am and today there is a 10:28 train, last week the next one was at 11:21.

Offline c5h

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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2019, 09:20:21 AM »
You might have made a good call in cancelling,....

I get the risks and chickened out but I good a good feeling when I spoke with Kovrgin (http://eyes.ua/en/laser-eye-surgery/) about eyes.  Wife used 32 Dent (http://32dent.ua/en) and was happy with the service.  She has had terrible work done in Ukraine also and this was the only place she trusts (near her hometown and Kyiv) they fixed her bad dental work previously.  They would not remove Wisdom teeth because of the return flight home though.  We had a 4-5 day window before return flight and in USA there is a 48hr recommendation after so I was surprised they were so cautious.


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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2019, 09:29:09 AM »
beware of Ukrainian dentistry...
my wife needed all hers replaced...
if youre not careful youll just end up doing things in
Ukraine that will need to be fixed later in the USA....

Kholodets

you tried it? just the appearance was enough for me to put it down... spossiba!!!

beet harvest is just starting now....

when I lived there no one bought ground beef in stores
you had a meat grinder at home and you made your own....

if you want a dacha closer than 30 miles, there are LOTS of dachas for sale along the main highway from boryspil airport for a reasonable price, and nice forested land...

In the hometown Сільпо stocks it (but was out) and the McDuck place didn't. 

Forgot to mention but Old Bay is probably the most popular thing we bring over with us (other than peanut butter).

Don't want a Dacha but if its free land no reason to not take it.  I just want one of the apartments on Khreshchatyk  that has  has a balcony, which only about 10 or places if they ever come on market. 

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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2019, 10:39:34 AM »
"Forgot to mention but Old Bay is probably the most popular thing we bring over with us (other than peanut butter)."

EXACT same things I ALWAYS bring over for each trip!
but now they want the "boutique" peanut butter

you shoulda seen Russians in the 90s when I gave em peanut butter first time!!!!!
back then, I could get a pretty girl's attention anywhere in Russia or Ukraine with just a jar of peanut butter...

what's that?
peanutbutter, here try some...
look of ecstasy on face
would you like to come over to my place for dinner tonight?
I'm cooking a French dish that uses peanutbutter
look of ecstasy on face

it's easy once you know how





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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2019, 02:44:25 PM »
I get the risks and chickened out but I good a good feeling when I spoke with Kovrgin (http://eyes.ua/en/laser-eye-surgery/) about eyes.  Wife used 32 Dent (http://32dent.ua/en) and was happy with the service.  She has had terrible work done in Ukraine also and this was the only place she trusts (near her hometown and Kyiv) they fixed her bad dental work previously.  They would not remove Wisdom teeth because of the return flight home though.  We had a 4-5 day window before return flight and in USA there is a 48hr recommendation after so I was surprised they were so cautious.

Think you made the right choice, research about it all and look up any reviews you can find online. Some here for the big high street laser clinic chains are truely shocking. Done right I've got to say the results are truely fantastic, I'm feeling great not having to go around with glasses perched on me all day, perfect sight from just looking around without any other stuff just like when I was younger :)

Even with the place I used I ended up +0.50 over in both eyes. Apparently they set it just over as a -0.25 will still leave blurred vision. I'm guessing that they set the machine +0.25 then there is a margin of accuracy of +0.25 or -0.25 either way. A +0.50 farsightness is fine as no prescription is needed, I get the impression that arounf +0.75 to +1.00 a perscription would be needed for reading glasses, reading glasses are of course cheap but it is a pain. Though if over 45 ish reading glasses come into play anyway for very different reasons as the internel lense in the eye gets old and stiff and not able to focus but that's a whole different ball game. Anyway the upside for me is that I have 20/10 vision so can read stuff quite a way away, and for some reason have xray vision as I'm now seeing ladies undergarments quite visibly now :D

I think you're right with Kiev, I saw a few young US guys that might look like they were there for the women possibly or might have just been holidaying. Other than that there seemed to not be anyone that I saw who was obviously a westerner with a UW or westerners in general on the prowl. I fear the now pretty much open border with the EU means they are hopping over the border, the ones minded that way that is.
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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2019, 04:54:03 PM »
Trench,

Ukraine is the size of France and do yo imagine a lady from (( say) Mariupol 'hopping' over EU borders, at will ?

I would not rely on your observational / deduction skills..!  ;)

You told us UA people would be remaining, illegally and I have yet to read of such issues and Schengen nations ending the up to 90 day stay (without a Visa) rule.

Where are they 'hopping' to?

 
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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2019, 12:32:51 PM »
Trench,

Ukraine is the size of France and do yo imagine a lady from (( say) Mariupol 'hopping' over EU borders, at will ?

I would not rely on your observational / deduction skills..!  ;)

You told us UA people would be remaining, illegally and I have yet to read of such issues and Schengen nations ending the up to 90 day stay (without a Visa) rule.

Where are they 'hopping' to?

 

Mobe, people walk all the way from Egypt to the UK, some hitch lifts, jump trains, whatever. In fact train travel is cheap in Ukraine so getting to the Ukrainian/EU border is not a problem.

Ukrainian men will travel to places like Poland for the work and better pay. That of course happened before but it's easier now. No more getting out before border and trekking around the border station to the other side. As you should know being unemployed in Ukraine is not a joy.

The women will likewise go for work but of course many will be on the lookout in whatever EU country they turn up in for a WM whether the WM to travel to them or whether in that country itself.

Have a look on Fdate you'll see a fair few UW in Poland and across Europe. Makes sense with a failing economy, civil war in the east and a long wanting to want out.

Of course work they cannot do officially but there are usually ways around this.

I think you need to get out that way and dig around and see for yourself Mobers ;)
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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2019, 07:24:45 PM »
TC --  your capacity for getting everything arse up is truly amazing! :deadhorse:
Fact is Ukraine's economy is improving -- and  the snowball affect looks real enough now,>>
Obviously enough -- that does not cover everyone today  .

I was talking with a guy who has just moved back to Kyiv after 13 years in the UK -- he and his wife and children could return to the UK if they chose too . Both he and his wife are professionals  and returned to Ukraine because they see it as a better place to raise children  and in lifestyle .

Many times previously-I have pointed out to you that your condescending attitude to Ukraine is not going to help you . Your sense of self is based on you thinking owning your own home is a big deal.Given you essentially live in an out of the way village with not much to offer  ( both you personally & location)  and a outdated view of the situation in Ukraine.
A fwiw--Ukraine is probably more likely to go forward economically  than the UK if Brexit ever happens and the UK goes into reverse.
SLAVA UKRAYINI  ! HEROYAM SLAVA!!!!
Слава Украине! Слава героям слава!Слава Україні! Слава героям!
 translated as: Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!!!  is a Ukrainian greeting slogan being used now all over Ukraine to signify support for a free independent Ukraine

Online msmob

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Re: Ukraine Kyiv and Countryside trip
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2019, 08:53:01 PM »
Trench,

I meet more UA and RU folk in more countries than you and can 'converse' ( if they are patient)  in Russian with them.

So much for your suggestion...but it DOES apply to you.

UW women without kids can more easily travel but whether it is Poland or any other Schengen nation they can only (legally) remain 3  months and not work...unless they have residency rights via Polish parentage or marriage to an EU citizen.

I am not saying avoid a UA woman in (say) Poland...just be wary. How are they funding their stay?

No to Brexit, Yes to a People's Vote on Brexit, THEN a General Election

 

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